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How our ecosystem fuels the small business growth engine

Posted 12 months ago in Apps by Nick Houldsworth

In the three months since I joined as GM Ecosystem, Xero has achieved some incredible milestones. We’ve surpassed one million global subscribers, and just last week, announced we’ve hit positive operating cashflow.

But the highlight for me has been learning more about how our work connects millions of small businesses and their advisors with our ecosystem of app partners. Furthermore I love learning about how those partners deliver value back to our customers by building powerful end-to-end solutions, deeply integrated to Xero.

As Xero has grown, so has our global ecosystem. We have almost 200 app partners in Australia, 150 in the US, and over 100 in both the UK and New Zealand. For any software provider innovating for small business, the Xero app marketplace offers a unique channel to reach millions of potential customers and over 100,000 accountants and bookkeepers anywhere in the world.

Seeing our partners success first hand

Xero was the first cloud accounting software to offer a truly open API. During my time at Vend, I saw first hand how this inspired a generation of software companies (including Vend) to build solutions for small business. Xero also opened the door for us to reach new customers and markets around the world.

Now I’m onboard at Xero, it’s been great to hear more of our partners success stories, like Receipt Bank’s.

“As bookkeeping automation software, we couldn’t exist without accounting software having an open API, ” said Michael Wood, co-founder of Receipt Bank.  “We’re actually an example of a sector, an area, an industry that an open AI has effectively created. We share tens of thousands of clients with Xero, there’s no question that’s helped our business immensely.”

Receipt Bank were nominated for ‘Emerging add-on of the year’ at Xerocon in 2012. Since then they’ve grown from a small team to a global business, serving over 4000 accountants and bookkeepers worldwide.

“It all started with a world-class integration and gaining recognition at Xerocon. Although we connected to the Xero API intending to build a business in the UK, Receipt Bank was actually available to buy and use by Xero’s clients around the world. The API effect has been huge for us,” Michael said.

Delivering value for our customers

Another story demonstrating the network effect of our ecosystem, comes from ApprovalMax.

For David Wieseneck, letgo’s VP of Finance, approving the 100 or so vendor bills that were coming in every month was time consuming and complicated. He wanted a solution to streamline the company’s approvals process. His search led him to ApprovalMax. It matched all of his criteria – except it didn’t connect to Xero. So he played matchmaker, and introduced the two.

“When David reached out to us, we were thrilled to learn about the Xero ecosystem,” said Helmut Heptner, Chief Operating Officer at ApprovalMax. “Thanks to Xero’s world class API, we managed to get our integration up and running in no time. We’ve been able to engage directly with the very people who can benefit most from ApprovalMax’s features. As a result we’ve seen a significant ramp up in our business.  It’s certainly a different proposition than hunting for customers in the big and noisy world of Tech-platforms.”

David’s matchmaking efforts paid off for him as well.

“Integrating Xero with ApprovalMax has reduced the average time it takes for an invoice to be approved by around 14 days. It also cuts the time I spend on approval processes each week, from four hours to 10 minutes,” David said.

Where to from here for our customers and partners?

We’re entering a new phase of Xero’s journey, which creates exciting opportunities for our app partners and advisors. From our million plus subscribers and 500 plus apps, we have unique set of data. We can use this to see how small businesses are using apps in different industries all over the world.

Practice products like  Xero HQ explorer help our advisors understand the industries they serve and the apps their customers use. This unlocks the potential for accountants and bookkeepers to specialise by industry to win new clients. Alternatively they could offer new services by working with app partners to recommend solutions to their existing client base.

It’s an exciting time to partner with Xero!

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